He nodded. “Someone tipped off the task force. They were ambushed. The family you saw? They were captured.”

“God.” My stomach twisted. I didn’t like the fact that the dude had choked me, but it sucked hearing that they had been captured. “What about Daemon and Archer?”

“They got away. They’re actually on their way back here, since they need to lie low before they attempt to go home.”

“And it’ll be safe for them to come here?” I asked. “You guys were raided.”

“I’d rather shoulder that risk than their homes be jeopardized.”

I opened my mouth, but I didn’t know what to say to that. That was brave and crazy.

“We’ll be okay here,” he said, walking over and sitting beside me. “We’ll always be okay.”

I glanced at him. “Always?”

“Always,” he repeated. He’d leaned toward me at some point. Or maybe I’d leaned toward him. I wasn’t sure. But there were only a few inches separating us. “I heard that the missing girl was found.”

“She was.” Looking away, I cleared my throat. “I saw her. Not close up, but I saw her eyes. They were burned out, Luc, and she’d been placed in her car, in the middle of the parking lot. She’d been left there like—”

“Like someone wanted her to be found that way. Just like with the other girl.”

I nodded. “The public thinks it’s a Luxen.”

“It sounds like one.” Luc touched my arm, and I drew in a shallow breath as I looked over at him. “I’m sorry you had to see that, and I think I need—” His gaze shot toward the door, and a second later there was a knock. He sighed as he rose and went to the door.

A wicked sense of déjà vu rolled over me, and I tensed. It was Grayson. He didn’t even look at me. “I know you probably want to murder me right now.” Grayson’s voice dropped, but I could still hear him. “But we have guests. The kind that meant I had to send Kent away.”

“Great.” Impatience dripped from that one word. Luc glanced over his shoulder at me. “I’m sorry, but—”

“It’s okay.” Because what else could I say? “We have the worst timing.”

A strange look flickered over his face. “Always.”

My brows knitted. “Can I come with?”

“No,” he was quick to reply. “I’ll be right back. Turn on the TV, watch a movie, and make yourself at home. I won’t be gone that long.”

My eyes narrowed. Luc was out of the room before I could respond, closing the door behind him. Sighing, I looked around the room once more. Any other time I would be beyond interested in snooping around his apartment, but I was interested in a whole different kind of snooping. I wanted to know what was going on that required Kent, a human, not to be present.

I wandered halfway across the room, toward the guitar, and then stopped. Luc didn’t tell me I had to stay in the room. He just told me that I couldn’t go with him. So if I found my way out of the room and downstairs, then it wasn’t like I wasn’t listening to him.

Not that I had to listen to him anyway.

Pivoting, I made up my mind and didn’t give myself a chance to really think about what I was doing. I slipped out the door, relieved to see that no one was standing guard. I made my way to the end of the hall and entered the stairwell. Going down six flights of steps didn’t suck as badly as walking up them, but I really needed to start exercising or something, because the muscles in my legs were already starting to burn.

Sweating more than I should’ve been considering I was walking down steps, I reached the main level and slowly opened the door. I crept into the dim hallway, keeping close to the wall as I neared the opening to the club. I stopped at the end and peered around the corner.

I saw Grayson first. He was standing by one of the high, round tables, his arms crossed. My gaze shifted to the right and I could see only Luc’s profile, but it was enough to recognize the bored indifference etched into his striking face.

My fingers curled around the edge of the doorway as I saw a muscle clenched in Luc’s jaw.

I saw a guy first. He was tall and dark haired, and standing next to him was someone who was obviously a sibling—a sister. She was the feminine version of him. Same black hair and identical height, and where his features were masculine, hers were delicate. The other guy was darker skinned than them, as if he spent a lot of time in the sun.

None of them wore a Disabler.

And all of them looked like rejects from Bikers ’R’ US. They were decked out in leather—leather pants, leather jackets.

“We know you help our kind.” The one I deemed the Brother stepped forward. “And you’re saying you can’t?”

Help? Duh. They were unregistered Luxen—Luxen looking to leave here—but why wouldn’t Luc help them?

“I do help others.” Luc sounded just about as enthused as he looked. “But I don’t help those like you.”

“Like us?” the sister parroted his tone, her gorgeous face pinching. “What is that supposed to mean?”

Luc tilted his head to the side. “You know exactly what that means.”

“I don’t know what you’ve heard about us.” Suntan Man’s tone was more gentle as he smiled. “But we’re not here to cause trouble. We just need to lie low for a couple of days, and then when you deliver your next package, we go with them. That’s all.”

“And why exactly do you guys need to lie low, Wayland?”

Suntan Man male winced only slightly. “There have been a few misunderstandings.”

“Yeah.” Luc snorted. “I’m sure they were misunderstandings. Like I said. It’s not that I can’t help you. It’s that I won’t.”

“That’s bullshit,” seethed the brother.

“I would watch your tone, Sean.” Grayson lifted his chin. “Or there’s going to be another misunderstanding.”

Sean sneered. “You better watch how you talk to me, traitor.”

Grayson’s arms unfolded as a faint white glow shimmered over his shoulders. “What did you call me?”

“You heard him,” the sister chimed in, smiling cruelly. “You sided with them. Fought against your own kind. What else does that make you?”

Holy crap, these Luxen were so not on Team Human. A chill powered down my spine. They were the invading Luxen.

“Intelligent?” Luc suggested. “Unlike you, Charity, and your bother. And your friend Wayland.”

Sean stretched his neck from one side to the next. “Why are you making this so difficult? We are Luxen and you help us. We need to get out of here and we know we can’t do that without you.”

“That’s correct.” Luc moved so that his back was to the hall. “I help Luxen worthy of living out their lives without having to look over their shoulders. I do not help Luxen who signed up for the whole Make Earth Their Bitch club.”


They were definitely not friendlies.

A startling thought occurred to me. Were they responsible for what had happened to Colleen and Amanda? Maybe they thought murdering a human was a misunderstanding? But if it had been them, why would they have left the bodies in such obvious places?

“And why is that, Luc?” Charity glided in front of her brother, and Luc momentarily blocked her from my sight. “Why would you even care about the humans? They should mean nothing to you. I don’t even understand how you can surround yourself with them. If I breathe too deeply, I can smell their leftover sweat and . . . perfume. Peaches.”


I sniffed the air around me.


“This conversation bores me,” Luc replied, his fingers moving idly at his sides. “I’m going to give you a minute to leave here and this city, because I’m feeling generous today. That minute starts now.”

“Do you think we’re afraid of you?” Sean’s stance widened. “We know what you are. You can’t take all three of us.”

“Oh really?” Luc chuckled. “Then you don’t know what I am if you think I can’t take the three of you.”